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Conservatives Pressure Red-State Dems

Bob Novak has a terrific article today, titled: "Alito a dilemma for red state Dems." According to Novak:

"Two unnamed donors have contributed $100,000 for current TV ads in the Dakotas to influence Democrats Kent Conrad and Tim Johnson. These same contributors, who spent $4.5 million in the 2004 election cycle, have privately committed $5 million against the re-election of red state Democrats who actually vote against Alito."

As a conservative who has worked on campaigns as both an operative and an activist, I am often frustrated when conservatives aren’t effective in their lobbying strategies. This Novak column has me screaming:

Finally, someone gets it!

You see, maybe I’m cynical, but it occurs to me that most politicians make decisions based on self interest, rather than deeply held philosophical beliefs. I wish it weren’t so, but this theory has a pretty good track record. And by the way, this theory explains why political activism works. It explains why letters to the editor, phone calls, and protests, are all techniques used by successful political operatives.

To put it in psychological terms, most humans operate under what’s called the "pleasure principle." In short, we tend to make decisions that either bring us pleasure — or allow us to avoid pain.

And the truth is that these Red State Democrats are already under tremendous pressure from the liberal Party Bosses in their party to toe the party line.

Without our exerting equal pressure, the pleasure principle would naturally lead Red State Dems to "avoid pain" by siding with their party leaders (who threaten to withhold perks and committee chairmanships, if they buck the system.)

That’s why I’m so pleased these conservative donors are willing to exert some pressure of their own. It’s meaningless to spend millions of dollars in favor of an issue if you’re not willing to also exert some leverage during an election year.

Keep in mind: I am in no way saying we ought to "smear" these politicians with "negative ads." On the contrary, holding Red State Dems accountable means nothing more than simply using our resources to expose the truth. As they say, "sunlight is the best disinfectant."

Many of these Red State Dems are continually re-elected because they have the resources to mislead their constituents into believing they are "independents" or "moderates."

It’s not that difficult to create an illusion when you outspend your opponents at a 10-to-1 rate. Heck, if you give me a few million dollars to run commercials (and give my enemies a few thousand), I would have a pretty good approval rating, too.

At last, Toto is threatening to pull back the curtain and expose these Red State Dems for what they truly are. And for once, clicking their heels together won’t make everything better.

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Written By

Mr. Lewis has managed political campaigns and served as director of grassroots for the Leadership Institute, as well as political director for GOPAC. In 2002, Campaigns & Elections magazine selected him as a "Rising Star of Politics." He is the author of "Teaching Elephants to Talk." His blog can be read at MattLewis.org.

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